Mike and Dana Ritter's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Arlington, Virginia, but anywhere.

Mike was injured as a teenager (June 1994) in the Bahamas on a trip with their church. He was a member of a performance ministry team with his youth group and while he was doing a gymnastics routine, he over rotated and landed on his face, breaking his neck at C5/6.

He met Dana after his injury when she was in college and reconnected several years later. They stayed in touch for about 8 years before dating long distance and getting married.

From home design to participating in the community, they have so many excellent things to share about living life differently due to a spinal cord injury and how they really want a lot of the same things in life that everyone else does.

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States


Watch the interview:

Notable quotes from the interview:

The day they released me from rehab, I put on my school uniform and went right back into my senior year. And it was really really good to be back in my life, in my world. -Mike

Other people’s housing is a big deal! You know like, visiting family, going on family vacations, you know with the rest of our people. Just being able to get in and out of places, that would be a really big game changer for us. -Dana

We’re just like everyone else. We may have the wheelchair thing going on, but we’re married… like everybody else we have to manage our household and our finances… we want to grow our family and we have opinions about things that are going on around us… you know we’re not THAT different. -Dana

Fortunately like we were saying that this area is extremely accessible. I can go from here to the metro stop in minutes and I can be in downtown DC and be at a conference in a half hour. And it’s wonderful. It’s really great. Back when I was in school, in church and going into college. My goodness, so I didn’t have the wheelchair friendly sidewalks and all of that, but I had friends who would just come by and throw me in their car and throw my wheelchair in the back and we would go and do whatever. -Mike